JulianCrane

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So, I will be taking the MCAT next April and I am trying to construct a suitable schedule that will both accomodate my stress level and allow me time ot study for the MCAT. As of now, I will be taking General Phys 2, Genetics, and either Cell Bio or Human Phys? The question is which course would be more advantageous for me for the MCAT? Also, if anyone has taken these courses at WashU or any other school for that matter, any advice would be great. Thanks, guys!
 

jofrbr76

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You'll for sure want genetics, as next april's mcat is supposed to have more genetics than in years past. I personally found physiology to be key for the bio section of the mcat, although cell-molecular bio would be a help as well. Try to take both classes, but if i had to choose, i'd pick human phys. Biochem is a good idea as well, if you can fit that in.

Good luck,
Joe
 

mvervaine

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oh oh! i can answer this one.

i didn't go to wash u, but i was a molecular biology major.
1) genetics--per the kind you learn in class--isn't going to show up on the mcat (it gets as advanced as the square-test invented by that colored-peas guy. as long as you can add fractions, you're aok)
2) cell bio...i think this class differs from school to school. you should know parts of a cell, but the depth/detail you go into in the class isn't necessary for the mcat (at least it wasn't for me)
3) i dunno what your "gen phy 2" is exactly, but physics is always good to know. it's not really my forte, so it helped me to take an extra physics class (coerced me to spend more time studying for it, indirectly, for the mcat)
4) human phy? i assume you mean physiology...this would clearly help, since all the parts of the body shows up on the mcat. you should save your notebook from this class if you decide to take it.
5) biochem...egh. besides learning to spell my name in amino acids, the only things that were useful from this class were like fatty acid oxidation or some other random small pooey fact that you'll undoubtedly come across on your mcat review book.

oh wait, i just read jofrb's post. i dunno what's going to be on april's mcat, but i really don't think it's going to be as hard as what you'll learn in your genetics class. your choice though, obviously.
 
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lola

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genetics will be very helpful. for the april mcat they are going to have more genetics than in the past.

if i were you i'd probably take physiology rather than cell bio as long as you have a good foundation from general bio on the parts of the cell, etc... also, if the cell bio course has a lot of molecular bio in it and you don't have a grasp of that, you might want to take it instead of physiology. physiology really helped me a lot on the mcat. the physiology courses i've taken have really taught me how to think about things (e.g. if levels of a given hormone increase, what happens?), which was very helpful for the mcat.
 

serene

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I took a genetics class in order to complete my major, and the material was far more difficult than what the MCAT is covering. Although the number of genetics questions are going up, the concepts that you will need to understand are pretty simple and easily learned outside of class. I though Kaplan did a good job of outlining the genetics info that students needed to know. It's just a matter of manipulating a few equations, memorizing the criteria for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and reviewing Medelian concepts (punnet squares). I think your class time is better spent on physiology.
 

Sonya

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HI,

I went to WashU for undergrad. My upper division bio to prepare for MCAT included Genetics, Physio (yeah, the human phys class), and Cell bio. I also took neuro, for elective, because i love neuroscience. Being a BioE major, those were teh max b io classes I could fit in my schedule. I did not get to take bio chem. Looking back, i wish i did NOT take genetics, and instead took BioChem.

But, if you're a bio major, they will require genetics. Also, you should u nderstand, i had a fair amount of genetics before WashU (I transferred, they said an entire year of bio I had was = to Bio 296, so i started w/ 297).

speech aside, from what you asked, choosing between physio and cell bio, i would probably take cell bio. But, it's a close call, they were both extremely good classes, and extremely useful.

Another thing, human phys is a about a million times easier than cell bio (granted I heard they are making cell bio easier). And, they depend on your personality. phsyio is very conceptual, cell bio is a ton of details to memorize. So, for my personality, taht made physio easy. And, Dr. Clark is an amazing instructor (if she stills teaches it). I found cell bio to be extremely bori ng, but other people have said otherwise (incidentally, i have not known one BioEng student who has taken and like cell bio, at Washu).

Okay, so everyone else is saying take genetics in this thread. Yes, genetics is very important. But, at least WashU's upper division genetics class is waaayyy more detail than one could care to know for the MCAT.

Well, you want more advice? This has been my extremely succesful study skill for Bio297, genetics, cell bio, neuroscience, and human phys. Go to all lectures, (don't miss any), take detailed thorough notes. DO NOT MISS ONE WORD. Watch the videotapes (or tape them with a cassette player, if the bio library hasn't taped that class), and augment your notes. and then study off those. It got me an A in all the classes. Three exceptions: it still got me a B+ in cell bio. In genetics (and neuro):, problem solving is a key thing. Genetics is a lot like physical sciences, you got to practice a LOT! (but, that doesn't make it harder, because, the lectures are not half as dense as other classes). I was running a C grade in genetics after the first exam (which is easy, mendelian genetics such), when i believed that I could just memorize notes. once i did a TON of practice problems, i shot up into the a grade range. anyway, what i'msaying, is you really do not need the text books that much for the classes (except for problems, and when the instruct you that a certain part of the chapter is to be on an exam, but not in lecture).

Keep also in mind , i didn't have 296, and my one year of stuff at the prev college made genetics boringly s impl e, but made get away not learning the biochem stuff in 396, like michaelson morely, and the AA structures, and such.

Any other questions, feel free to PM me.

Sonya
 

hokiedoc

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human anatomy/physiology definitely helped me the most on the mcat along with genetics. Make sure you take them both!
Good luck with the MCAT
 

Woots32

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I took a VERY basic human physio class, comp. vert. anatomy, intro neruobiology, and animal behavior, and biochem as my sciences before taking the MCAT.

Personally, I think these classes are good background and nice to have, but I highly recommend taking a Kaplan/TPR type class. (Don't let my position as a Kaplan instructor get in the way of my advice here. ;) ) While these courses review all of the info you're going to be tested on, they will also teach you HOW TO TAKE THE MCAT. It may sound wierd, but there is a definate strategy for this test, and taking the class helped me out alot. (My score went up 11 points from the diagnostic to the actual MCAT.) Just my $.02 :)
 

loserman

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I say take them all except genetics, all those classes well help you to understand the big picture on the mcat. But genetics on the mcat wasn't to detailed no double cross hybridizations or nothing like that, but that was the old mcat. The new one coming out might have more genetics but a good review class should do the job.
 

SunnyS81

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Hi,

I can't help you with scheduling bio classes, but as for MCAT performance, I just took Bio I and II, and found that was more than enough. If you are aiming to get about a 12 in the bio section though, it might be worthwhile to take other bio classes. On exam, immunonology would have been the most useful.
 

DoubleDoctor

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I had not had Physio before the MCAT but I had taken cell bio, biochem for chem majors, microbial genetics, microbial physiology,
phy chem, and a butt load of chem and physics classes. The human physiology was pretty simple to learn on your own. I used Kaplan's study materials and had absolutely no problem. I ended up with a 13 in BS and I really didn't even study O Chem and I had taken it 3 years before. My vote would be Genetics and Cell Bio unless you already have a background in those areas. Biochem would also be useful. Now I somehow got things turned around and ended up taking Microbial genetics and physiology and Biochem before cell biology and thus it was major review course. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

DoubleDoctor

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You are absolutely right about the Immunology Sunny. I had forgotten about it. No need to take pathogenic micro, virology, or histo for the MCAT though because I can't really remember using them at all.
 

jwin

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i am a current senior at WU juliencrane, and if i were you i would definitely take human phys ahead of cell bio. the level of detail of human phys is very similar to the mcat and all the topics covered are potential mcat material. i have not taken cell bio, but from what i have heard the level of detail is quite superfluous for the mcat and you will see very little pure cell bio on the mcat. as mentioned above, dr. clark is great and the class is a little easier than the other bio classes.
 
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